In The Know: More than 450 file to run for state, federal offices

In The Know].In The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Candidate Filing Day 1: More Than 450 File to Run for State, Federal Offices on Wednesday: The line stretched far out the west entrance of the Capitol when filing for state and federal offices began at 8 a.m. Wednesday. When the doors closed nine hours later, 458 Oklahomans had passed through the portal from bystander to candidate. The figure was by far the highest single-day total since at least 2000 [Tulsa World]. Two ‘Big Tent’ parties draw candidates for first day of filing [NonDoc]. A still unknown yet rapidly multiplying number of teachers will run for office this year [The Frontier]. See the list of candidates who have filed here.

Oklahoma Teachers Strike Set to Enter Ninth Consecutive Day: Massive teacher protests at the Oklahoma state Capitol have done more than put political pressure on lawmakers: The situation has forced school districts, churches, community organizations and parents to improvise to take care of students. The state’s largest two school districts will be closed for a ninth consecutive day Thursday, matching the length of a walkout in West Virginia earlier this year that started a rebellion of teachers in some Republican-led states including Kentucky and Arizona [USA Today]. Oklahoma’s striking teachers seek more funds, republicans say they are done [Reuters]. Walkout Day 8: Some teachers vowing to continue as OEA signals possible end to work stoppage [Tulsa World]. State Funding Crisis and the Teacher Walkout: Resources & Information [OK Policy].

Sources: House GOP, OEA Working on Deal to Potentially End Walkout: Oklahoma House Republicans and the Oklahoma Education Association are working on a deal that could potentially end the teacher walkout, sources confirmed with KOCO 5. House Republicans and the OEA are working out language to a House resolution, which lawmakers could vote on this week. Multiple sources said that lawmakers would take $100 million from growth revenue next year and appropriate it to education in 2020’s budget [KOCO]. After demands are rebuffed, Oklahoma teachers union issues new demand [KOSU].

Prosperity Policy: The Long Work of a Movement: Oklahomans this month have witnessed, and been part of, an astonishingly powerful movement in support of public education. The movement’s strength is apparent in the number of teachers who have walked out to gather daily at the Capitol, in the outpouring of support they have received from the public, and in the willingness of over three-fourths of lawmakers to approve tax increases for teacher raises and more money for schools [David Blatt/Journal Record]

Behind Oklahoma’s teacher strike: Years of tax cuts and an energy slump: Thousands of Oklahoma teachers this week poured into the state capitol in a second week of a strike for more school funding and higher pay. The strikes have their origin in more than a decade of tax cuts spearheaded by some Democrats and Republican legislators, as well as a downturn in global energy prices. Oklahoma is one of the nation’s five largest producers of crude oil, and the energy sector accounts directly or indirectly for about one quarter of its jobs, according to at least one estimate. The one-two punch of tax breaks and falling energy prices has triggered a series of a state budget crises over the past four years [Washington Post].

Brad Luna: Teachers Teach Important Civics Lesson — with Their Feet: Gov. Mary Fallin said during a recent interview, “It’s important to get back in the classroom and to teach our children.” When asked what was happening to the students during the walkout, Fallin declared, “They’re just out of school.” Fallin’s remarks fail to recognize a powerful civics lesson happening at this very moment. At the state Capitol and in communities — rural and urban — young people are seeing our participatory democracy in action. Given the current status of civic engagement in our country, this might be the most valuable lesson our state’s educators could be teaching [Brad Luna / Tulsa World]. 

Anti-Tax Group Plans to Go After Education Funding: The group, Oklahoma Taxpayers United, plans to start collecting signatures next week to overturn the historic education funding signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin just before the teacher walkout began. If the group gets a little more than 42,000 signatures, it would cause a veto referendum to be put on the ballot in November and Oklahomans could vote if they want to keep those tax increases or not [KFOR].

Teaching Consent: Could Oklahoma Lead a New Wave in Sex Education?: If passed, Oklahoma House Bill 2734, nicknamed “Lauren’s Law” after Atkins, would provide high school teachers with the training and resources required to have nuanced, evidence-based conversations with their students about consent. Teachers in participating schools would learn how to arm students with the language to communicate boundaries, the tools to build safe and healthy relationships, and the awareness to recognize physical and emotional coercion, violence or abuse [Rolling Stone].

Passing Revised Justice Reform Measures Is Necessary but Not Nearly Enough: While even the weakened task force measures represent a significant accomplishment, it’s far from sufficient to confront the deep problems in our justice system. If new prison facilities are approved, they must be tightly paired with closing old ones. The worst possible outcome would be to increase our capacity to incarcerate more Oklahomans while settling for weakened reforms with no next steps [OK Policy].

Oklahoma House Panel Approves Adoption Bill: One of this year’s most controversial policy bills cleared one of its last hurdles, but in the process, it changed significantly. Lawmakers have been considering Senate Bill 1140, a measure that protects religious beliefs within adoption agencies. It is intended to end the civil liability for organizations that take into account lifestyle choices that violate the organizations’ codified beliefs when deciding which parents are eligible to adopt.  Opponents said the bill protects organizations that discriminate against the LGBTQ community, interfaith couples and several others [Journal Record].

House Committee Takes up Bills Aimed to Counter Opioid Addiction, Deaths: Oklahoma lawmakers finishing committee work this week tackled more than half a dozen bills written to address opioid addiction, the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States. The legislation would put limits on health professionals writing prescriptions, encourage people to report overdoses and monitor pain management clinics. Another bill, House Bill 2798, creates the Opioid Overdose Fatality Review Board that will spend the next five years reviewing and reporting data on overdose deaths [Tulsa World].

Rep. Josh Cockroft Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election: State Rep. Josh Cockroft announced this week that this will be his last legislative session. He is not seeking re-election. Cockroft was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2010 at the age of 21. He has served as a member of House leadership under two speakers, as a presiding officer in the House, as the chairman of the House Rules Committee, and as the chairman of the House Special Investigative Committee [Shawnee News-Star].

Vulgar Voicemail Names Wife, Daughter of Rep. Kevin Calvey: The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is attempting to identify who left a voicemail on the office line of Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-OKC) that used sexually explicit statements to disparage his wife and 9-year-old daughter. In the 43-second voicemail, a male caller references Kevin Calvey’s wife, Toni, and one of their children by name [NonDoc]. 

White House Nominates Tulsa Attorney, Oklahoma Supreme Court Judge for Federal Court Posts: President Trump on Tuesday nominated Tulsa attorney John O’Connor to serve as a U.S. district judge in Oklahoma. Trump also nominated Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick for the federal bench in the state’s western judicial district. U.S. Sens. James Lankford and Jim Inhofe issued a joint news release Tuesday praising the nominations [Tulsa World].

AG Sued for More Records After Releasing Suppressed Audit That Found Evidence of Conspiracy at Tar Creek: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter on Monday released an audit and other documents related to a corruption probe his office fought to keep secret. The records stem from an investigation launched in 2011 of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, which was set up to buy contaminated properties and relocate residents near the Tar Creek Superfund site, a former lead and zinc mine in northeastern Oklahoma [StateImpact]. 

Study: Oklahoma Among the Worst States for Life Expectancy: How long you might live may depend on where you live. And unfortunately, Oklahoma finds itself in the bottom 5 states for life expectancy, coming in at 47. New research suggests that if you spend your days on a sunny Hawaiian island, your life expectancy is more than 81 years. Halfway across the country in Mississippi, however, you can count yourself lucky if you make it to 75 [News9].

Quote of the Day

“I’ve always been politically involved, but I’m done with ideology over common sense. If I have a campaign slogan, it’s ‘I do math.'”

-Linda Wade of Midwest City, who was one of more than 450 Oklahomans filing to run for state and federal offices on the first day of candidate filing Wednesday (Source)

Number of the Day


Average Oklahoma Medicaid (SoonerCare) spending per child enrollee, FY 2014

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Four-day school weeks, a nationwide symptom of tight budgets, lead to more youth crime, study finds: Using sophisticated statistical techniques and data from 1997 and 2014 in Colorado, researchers Stefanie Fischer and Daniel Argyle looked at how four-day weeks affected crime among high-schoolers. The results aren’t pretty. Overall, shortened weeks caused youth crime to jump nearly 20 percent, with the biggest spikes in property crime. The study didn’t find clear increases in violent crime, but there was some evidence of an increase in drug offenses [Chalkbeat].

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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